Cravings: A Refreshing Guide To Freedom in Christ

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Cravings by Mary DeTurris Poust

What’s the Deal with Catholicism and Food?

I’m The Catholic Foodie, right? This is “where food meets faith,” right? But I don’t often talk plainly about the food-faith connection. I usually just hint at it. Then I give you a recipe. But maybe it is time we talk about food and faith a bit more plainly. After all, as Catholics our faith revolves around a meal. The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith. And even before the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper, one of the defining annual celebrations of the Jews was a meal… The Passover meal. The same celebration during which Jesus instituted the Eucharist the night before he died.

From Genesis to Revelation, food plays a major role in scripture. Sin and death came into the world through eating. Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. But salvation comes through eating too. We see it first in the Exodus. Only those who ate the lamb, those safely inside homes marked with the blood of the lamb, survived. The story of the Passover meal and the salvation that came from it was only a type of what was to come. In the Gospel of John, chapter 6, Jesus tells us that he is the Bread of Life. He says that whoever eats his flesh and drinks his blood will have eternal life. We see this come to pass at the Last Supper when Jesus institutes the Eucharist, giving us his very self as food. It doesn’t stop there though. Heaven itself is described as “the wedding feast of the Lamb” in Revelation. Heaven is a feast!

However, even though food plays such a prominent role in scripture, many of us are locked in a love-hate relationship with food. Perhaps it’s just a problem of affluence. In the United States, food is everywhere. We have drive-thrus, Super Wal-Marts, and grocery stores galore. Vending machines are conveniently located in our schools, our colleges, our offices, and our hospitals. Not only do companies that produce food of various types spend thousands (and even millions) of dollars advertising on TV, we also have Food Network and The Cooking Channel to entertain us 24/7 and make us hungry for more.

And America is obese.

And there are many who struggle with eating disorders.

And it seems like everybody has food issues of some sort. Food allergies, food intolerances, yo-yo dieting…

And what about food production and processing? The chemicals, the steroids, the feed lots….

The list goes on.

Food. It is a love-hate thing.

But what if it’s really not about food? What if, on the personal level at least, some of the “issues” we have with food really spawn from something deeper? Something… relational?

In her latest book, Cravings: A Catholic Wrestles with Food, Self-Image, and God, Mary DeTurris Poust asks just that.

Who is Mary DeTurris Poust?

Mary DeTurris Poust is an author, columnist, journalist, speaker, and blogger who has written for dozens of Catholic and secular publications. She is the author Walking Together, Everyday Divine, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Catholic Catechism, and Parenting a Grieving Child. Poust was a senior correspondent and contributing editor for Our Sunday Visitor newspaper for fourteen years and is a daily contributor to Our Sunday Visitor’s popular blog, OSV Daily Take. Her award-winning monthly column “Life Lines” has been published in Catholic New York since 2001.

Poust also writes about family, faith, and the spiritual journey at her own blog, Not Strictly Spiritual. She has worked for the dioceses of Metuchen, New Jersey, and Austin, Texas, as well as the Archdiocese of New York, we she served as a managing editor of Catholic New York. She lives in upstate New York with her husband and three children.

She’s also a Catholic foodie. 😉

Cravings: A Catholic Wrestles with Food, Self-Image, and God

This isn’t your typical food / diet / health book. No. With laser-like efficiency this book cuts through the cluttered and conflicted dieting landscape and gets right to the heart of it all.

Cravings is not simply a food-focused book that dabbles in spirituality. It is a Christ-focused book that addresses the food issues that haunt so many of us, whether we are overweight, underweight, or exactly where we are supposed to be. Because sometimes –often– the number on the scale has nothing to do with the depth of the struggle.

“The physical hungers that lead to constant snacking and high-calorie meals often mask something much deeper, a spiritual hunger that can never be satisfied by anything we buy at the grocery store or whip up in a food processor. What can satisfy us once and for all? Only God can. So this path to wholeness will be centered on the one relationship  that promises to free us from the constraints we put on ourselves through overeating or yo-yo dieting or self-loathing, from the things that prevent us from experiencing the peace and potential that is rightfully ours.”

Cravings is a refreshing guide to freedom in Christ. Through this book, Mary DeTurris Poust leads us on a journey to the truth of who God is and the truth of who we are. She leads as a fellow-companion, as one who struggles too.

As the publisher Ave Maria Press explains, “Poust proves an experienced and understanding companion as she guides readers down a path she continues to walk—from reaching for handfuls of candy when faced with tough life decisions to reaching for God instead… [F]rom a Catholic perspective, Poust illuminates the integral role of food in the faith. ‘Ours is a faith centered on a meal. Day after day, week after week, we gather around a table to break bread with our spiritual family in much the same way we gather around the dinner table with our individual families each night.’

“Cravings is a powerful companion in learning to look at body and spirit as two united parts of a whole and in doing so, gaining self-awareness and self-acceptance. As Poust helps readers confront the fact that God truly does love us unconditionally, the need for external gratification diminishes, as does the urge to count calories.”

Personally, reading this book was a powerful experience for me. It is not often that I cry when reading a book, but I cried more than once while reading Cravings. Why did I cry? Because the truth is beautiful. God is beautiful. I have been writing and speaking about food, faith, and family since 2008. I see connections in Scripture, in the liturgy, and in Catholic practice that can really help families to grow in faith and love around the family table. I get so excited when I meet other people who see the same thing. Mary definitely sees it.

Yesterday, the Epiphany (or Twelfth Night) Mary was interviewed about Cravings by CNN. I took a break from making my first King Cake of the Carnival season when my wife Char told me that CNN had put the interview online. Char and I watched it together… and we both cried! Why? Again, the truth is beautiful.

Please take a moment to watch this short interview. Mary really nails it!

CNN Interviews Mary DeTurris Poust About Her New Book Cravings

Needless to say, I highly recommend Cravings for anyone searching for freedom in Christ.

The Cravings Blog Tour and a Chance to Win a $100 Williams-Sonoma Gift Card!

Enter to win a $100 Williams-Sonoma gift card through this link: You can enter every day until January 20th!

Cravings Blog Tour with Mary DeTurris Poust

Win a Copy of Cravings! Comment Below!

I am giving away a free copy of Cravings. To enter, just leave a comment below. On January 13, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, I will randomly draw a winner.

Bon appetit!


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  • Sharon Portner

    Pick me!! :) I need help with my kitchen tools..I dont have any :) !!
    Saying grace and sharing our love is the way we begin our meals but until recently it was just something we did…now it is something we take the time to feel. I tell my 10 year old we are filling our bellys and our souls.

    • Jeff Young

      That’s beautiful, Sharon! I love that!

  • Lisa Teichmann

    Very excited to read “Cravings”

    • Jeff Young

      It really took me by surprise and brought me joy!

  • Michele B.

    You were incredible on CNN yesterday! And I’m loving the book. Thank you for sharing your gifts and insights. Blessings.

  • María de Lourdes Ruiz Scaperla

    Don’t know if I’m allowed to enter, but count me in if the answer is yes! :-) Great topic — and great book, Mary!

  • Kate Flannery

    I’m so excited about this book! The relationship between food and faith is something I have always thought about. Hope to get a copy! Blessings

    • Jeff Young

      I always say that food and faith go together like peanut butter and chocolate. Just a little joke, but it’s true. There is something deep in the relationship between food and faith. Around the table we fill our souls as well as our bellies (as Sharon commented earlier). Isn’t it beautiful?

  • Barb S

    I would love to read this book so I can get a better handle on my own food cravings, especially the craving for sweets.

  • Regina

    Very interesting. I would love to read the book.

  • Melissa

    Looks like a great read. How exciting she was on CNN!

  • Daria Keegan Winker

    I love the idea of tying everyday eating to the food celebrations that are our church history. Passover, the Marriage at Cana, the Last supper, Manna in the desert. It just makes so much sense.

  • Kyle Sanders

    This sounds awesome. I would love a copy of this book and will probably get one if I don’t win it.

  • Therese

    This is really something that I think everyone could use. I know I’ve personally struggled to curb my cravings, and I’m sure that there are spiritual implications to be explored there

  • Trina Matthews

    I am so glad you reviewed this book. It sounds great. Now I really want to read it.

  • sandy_louise

    I love a good cry. Thanks for turning me on to this book.

  • Jeanne G.

    This book sounds really interesting. I would love to read it.

  • Lisa tonguis

    I’m struggling with this right now! I love food and for the last 7 years, sitting at a desk, homeschooling has really packed on the pounds. I always told myself I was celebrating food for the “food of it”, but my new lifestyle has sneaked (for us country folk ‘snuck’) up on me. My New Years resolution this year is not to lose weight but to get a grip on this, so this book sounds like Mary stepped right into my head and filled that need. How awesome!

  • Sherry Northington

    Very interested in this book. Seems tobe just what I need right now – eye opening and informative.

  • Melissa Templet Barron

    I definitely want to get this book! As a Catholic who continues to struggle with food and faith, this book will be an excellent read for me and my husband. As a relocated Cajun in SC now, it was “live to eat” not “eat to live.” During my parents’ recent visit, in which Momma cooked both a chicken and turkey andouille gumbo and a seafood gumbo to share with our friends, they brought to my attention that i am a nervous eater. I’m hoping CRAVINGS in addition to my continued growth in faith through reading and understanding Christ’s teachings with set me back on the correct path.

    • Jeff Young

      CONGRATULATIONS, Melissa! You won a free copy of Cravings! Please email me your mailing address, and I will send it your way! Email me at jeff [at] YAY!

  • Margaret_at_FeliceMiFa

    That book sounds great! Since my IBD diagnosis I’ve been reading much more about food. It’s so easy not to think about the choices we make.

  • soonermomof7

    “our weight is not a barometer of our self-worth” – definitely the truth and often hard to swallow.

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  • Melani Roewe

    I watched the CNN clip at the recommendation of a mutual friend, Catholic author Maria Scaperlanda, and then followed links to the blog and kept reading. This has been an ongoing struggle of mine my whole life. While cognitively I know my weight is not the sum of who I am, still, it is difficult to hold a healthy self-esteem when one dislikes what one sees in the mirror. So easy to put one’s feelings and impressions onto others and then assume those same feelings are also their impressions of oneself. Just put in my order for this book, and I look forward to reading it.

  • Elizabeth

    Jeff, thanks for letting us know about this book.

  • Lisa

    I would love a copy of this book!

  • Kim

    Great video and the book sounds wonderful. As someone who struggles with weight and all of the self-loathing that seems to come with it, I can really see how her approach could be helpful.

  • Erin

    I really want to win this book! Thanks for the opportunity!

  • www.sensationcaviar

    Very useful info. Hope to see more posts soon!